Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 09:43:42 EDT
For information on this matter contact:
Tina Nelson, Ex. Director
Subject: Historic Action to Change the Animal Welfare Act



JENKINTOWN, PA- The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) announced at a press conference today at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, its latest effort to help animals in laboratories. Project Animal Welfare Act: An Act For All addresses the fact that mice and rats, the most commonly used animals in biomedical research and product testing, are excluded from protection under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

In a historic action, AAVS and its affiliate, the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF) have petitioned USDA to amend the AWA to include mice, rats and birds under its protection. If amended, laboratories using these species would feel the impact of being forced to give them the same considerations that are currently given to other animals used in U.S. labs. Laboratories would also have to report the numbers of these animals used to the USDA. Says John McArdle, Ph.D., AAVS Science Advisor and Director of ARDF, "One can only estimate the numbers of these animals used each year, because under current regulations, labs are not required to count them."

Estimates range from 17 to 25 million mice and rats used yearly in the U.S., 85% of all animals used in experiments and testing. "Americans think the AWA is protecting animals. The fact is, because mice, rats and birds are excluded, essentially not considered animals by the U.S. government, they are denied legally mandated minimal standards of humane treatment," says Tina Nelson, AAVS' Executive Director. Nelson continues, "These animals deserve the same protection as others used in experiments."

Petitioners who have signed on and lent their support to this effort include world-renowned scientists, including those who have done research on animals, those working in the field of alternatives, as well as producers of alternatives to animal tests. The campaign's success will force a significant increase in the use of alternatives. This increase will be due to the fact that institutions will be required to consider alternatives prior to using mice, rats or birds as they currently do for other animals. "The USDA will be forced to protect all animals, not just those popular with the general public. This was the original intent of the Animal Welfare Act" adds Tina Nelson.

AAVS is the oldest animal protection group working for animals used in research, testing and education. Earlier this month, AAVS took the National Institutes of Health to task by re-petitioning NIH to ban a painful and common procedure in animals for which cost-effective and practical alternatives exist. This second major action of the Antibodies without Animals campaign refutes every point used by NIH in its original denial of the 1997 AAVS petition. Up to one million animals could be saved each year in the United States by ending this one procedure.

Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 09:43:45 EDT
Subject: Re: Dissection Hotline For Students!

The dissection hotline is a wonderful resource!

For additional help:
Animalearn offers a FREE lending program of alternatives. Call 1-800 SAY AAVS for a listing of The Science Bank holdings-from charts to CD-Roms. Everything s available on loan, free to students, teachers or anyone who wants to get active for animals used in dissection!

Animalearn will also help in dealing with teachers and administrators and is happy to advocate for/with students in need.